One popular "solution" to the DUI problem is to toughen the laws and make harsher penalties. Here in Pennsylvania, that still wouldn’t work because of shoddy police work. All it will do is lead to more truly factually or legally not guilty citizens among us being convicted and punished. Here is an investigation from last year that shows how inept some of these departments are:
Court insiders call it a "Philadelphia special": a case that falls apart after both witnesses and cops fail to show up at trial. The nickname is telling, according to a four-part investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer that began on Sunday. Looking at 31,000 criminal court cases filed in Philadelphia in 2006, 2007 and 2008, the paper found pervasive dysfunction within the city’s court system , which "fails to punish violent crimes, dismisses thousands of cases without any decision on the merits, and has a growing pool of 47,000 fugitives."
Because of shoddy work by police and prosecutors, some true criminals go unpunished. The full series: Justice: Delayed, Dismissed, Denied is worth reading as it highlights how widespread this problem really is.
My question is- What’s the use of pushing for stricter laws when the Commonwealth of PA can’t enforce the current ones? Why not invest funds into making crime labs better and training police better so we can catch the bad guys and make sure they get punished appropriately?
Stricter DUI laws and penalties are a shell game hiding the deficiencies of the police and prosecution. That’s the root problem that no one wants to talk about.
-Justin J. McShane, Esquire, Pennsylvania DUI Attorney
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